Question: What is the most accurate low-cost VOC monitoring method?

tylerknight is asking a question about air-quality
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by tylerknight | January 27, 2022 21:18 | #29072

For instance, SKC VOC passive samplers are $85 for 5 samplers, not including analysis.


Thanks for this question @tylerknight. Are you interested in monitoring VOCs indoors or outdoors? And are you hoping to detect particular VOCs or "total VOCs"?

I found a couple papers on sensors that might offer some leads: Review of Portable and Low-Cost Sensors for the Ambient Air Monitoring of Benzene and Other Volatile Organic Compounds. About halfway down the "Conclusions" section, the authors list some promising devices based on sensitivity. Note that their definition of "low cost" is still pretty pricey (up to 5000 Euros), but they wouldn't need lab analysis.

For indoor monitoring, there's this more recent article: Performance assessment of low-cost environmental monitors and single sensors under variable indoor air quality and thermal conditions.

@sarasage, do you have any tips based on your experience with VOC monitoring?

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Thanks for the papers! Unfortunately benzene is one of the VOCs of concern, and based on the conclusions of that first paper, sensitivity is still a big concern alongside price.

The performance of the consumer grade sensors compared to the professional grade monitors in the second paper doesn't inspire much confidence.

We'll keep looking for options, and if anyone has any experience with VOC badges (and what analysis might cost), I'd appreciate hearing your thoughts!

This presentation from the Wisconsin Dept of Natural Resources has some info on another kind of passive sampler for benzene, and compares the results to their standard method:

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